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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Names New Dean of the School of Engineering

May 13, 2009

Rensselaer Names New Dean of the School of Engineering

David Rosowsky

 David Rosowsky, Ph.D.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced David Rosowsky will join the university as dean of the School of Engineering. The appointment is effective July 15.

Rosowsky joins Rensselaer from his current position of professor and head of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, where he is also the A.P. and Florence Wiley Chair in Civil Engineering.

“Dr. Rosowsky is an outstanding leader with an expansive vision for engineering and its role in creating the future,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “He brings considerable skills and experience to Rensselaer as we continue to move boldly into new multi- and interdisciplinary fields that will be critically important for meeting the global challenges of the 21st century. I look forward to working with Dr. Rosowsky, and I welcome him and his family to Rensselaer.” 

As dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer, Rosowsky will be responsible for strengthening the prominence of the school as one of the top engineering institutions in the nation. Rosowsky will continue to improve the School of Engineering undergraduate and graduate academic curricula and programs, and bolster its established excellence in sponsored research. He also will continue to grow Rensselaer’s world-class engineering faculty and staff.

Rosowsky is a renowned expert in the areas of structural reliability, probabilistic modeling of structural and environmental loads, and probability-based design. In recent years, his research has focused on the behavior of built environments subject to natural hazards; modeling and analysis of load effects on buildings and other structures, with particular emphasis on complex environmental phenomena; performance-based engineering for design, post-disaster condition assessment, and loss estimation studies; and reliability-based assessment of reinforced concrete bridges.

In his five years as department head at Texas A&M, Rosowsky oversaw the largest faculty expansion in that department’s history, hiring more than 25 new faculty. The department currently has nearly 1,200 undergraduate and 400 graduate students, and more than 70 full-time faculty, making it the largest civil engineering department in the country. Under his leadership, the departmental U.S. News & World Report undergraduate rankings improved to 7th and graduate ranking improved to 8th among all public institutions. 

At Texas A&M, Rosowsky implemented new degree programs, new research directions, and the development of significant new funds to support both undergraduate and graduate students. He created and facilitated a Faculty Mentoring Program with both internal and external mentors, as well as industry liaisons for all new assistant professors. He supported the activities of the department’s Women’s Faculty Network, dedicated to mentoring women graduate students in Civil Engineering, as well as the creation of a new association of doctoral students. 

Rosowsky serves on a number of national and international technical committees relating to structural safety, reliability-based design of engineered wood structures, and design for natural hazards. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal Structural Safety and was formerly an associate editor of the ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems, the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, and Natural Hazards Review. The recipient of several prestigious research awards, Rosowsky has garnered the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Norman Medal in 1998, the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize in 2001, and the T.K. Hsieh Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2001. 

In his work as head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M, Rosowsky also worked closely with the Director of Development and the Texas A&M Foundation on strategic planning, gift solicitations, creation of endowments, fostering long-term relationships with potential donors, and stewardship, yielding more than $26 million in new gifts to the department since his arrival in 2004. 

Prior to joining Texas A&M University, Rosowsky was a professor at Oregon State University, where he also held the Richardson Chair in Wood Engineering and Mechanics. In addition to being a licensed Professional Engineer, Rosowsky is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a fellow of the Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Rosowsky earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Tufts University in 1985 and 1987, respectively. He then went on to earn his doctorate in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1990.

He succeeds Timothy Wei, who has served since May 2008 as acting dean of the School of Engineering. Wei will return to his position as professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering.

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161